You know how the theme song to the Facts of Life starts with “You take the good, you take the bad”? It seems completely cliché, but sometimes it’s completely true.
Like this past weekend.
I try not to do spending recaps or anything like that because quite frankly, I’m not a fan of them and my spending is so boring most of your eyes would glaze over and you’d think “why in the world is she telling us this? Does she really have nothing else to say?” To which I’d reply, “well, most likely”. But in this case, I want to share with you not so much what I spent money on but some financial things that happened that made me both happy and angry.
Let’s start with the angry. There are three of them.
Comcast. As many of you already know, my BFF Andrea from So Over This (formerly So Over Debt) loathes Comcast for a host of reasons that are completely reasonable. I’ve never had the service problems that she has but we do battle them at least 3 times a year over their price increases that seemingly come out of nowhere. My husband had to walk into the battle arena on Saturday, just before we left for a birthday party because we received a “courtesy call” that our DVR and HD rates were going up by $16. According to this lovely company, we had a promotional rate (we did not) and it was set to expire, causing our bill to increase. Now, given the fact that we had just reupped our subscription to HBO (which we had canceled 2 years ago due to price), we now need to cancel that in order to offset this new, unplanned and unexpected increase (since DVR and HD are more important to us). Having all of those puts us substantially over the limit we have for our bundled Comcast service and I’m pissed.
Boo to you, Comcast. I think you suck.
Delta. Moving on, another company I’d like to flip the virtual bird to is Delta. When booking my flight for FinCon12, I chose Delta for two reasons: the times of the flights and the price. What I failed to check on was the policy for rescheduling flights, so I wound up having to pay them an extra $150 to change my flight home from Monday to Sunday due to my daughter’s school schedule. Okay, fine. That’s my fault. But what’s not my fault is the fact that not only does Delta keep changing my flight times to much more inconvenient ones, they keep changing my seat assignment. I paid for the seats I have. I clearly want those for a reason. Why they feel compelled to move me every 2 weeks is making me quite discontented. And I’m fairly certain that Delta and I will never again conduct business.
Delta representatives, if you’re reading this, let me be clear: I do not want a middle seat. Not for a one hour flight, not for a 5 hour flight. Stop fucking moving me.
EZ Pass. This is a product that really does make my life substantially easier, particularly when I’m driving to visit my parents on Long Island. The EZ Pass means no long lines of cars, not having to remember to stop by the ATM for cash for the tolls and it makes the drive a lot more pleasant (and quicker). We even have it hooked up to our debit card to automatically refill the account when the balance gets low. Overall, I have no major complaints about our EZ Pass. Except for one. The damn sensors will often not recognize our transponder, causing us to get very annoying nastygrams in the mail, telling us that we didn’t pay a toll and then informing us that we owe the toll people varying odd amounts of money (the most recent one is for $27. $2 toll plus $25 fee). While it’s not a huge sum of money, it’s still a pain in the ass to have to call the toll people, tell them what happened, write a letter, mail said letter along with a check for the $2 toll. It’s more time consuming than expensive but if their equipment worked, we wouldn’t have this problem.
Delaware EZ Pass people, please, please, please get your shit together. This is a huge inconvenience.
And now, two things that made me happy.
My daughter’s school situation. Remember how I talked about sending my daughter to private school? And how our public schools are pretty terrible? Well, that was before I went nuts and quit my job. Due to that loss of income, we could no longer afford the tuition at private school. I did some research and found a really good public school where I could enroll her via our state’s school choice program. I filled out the paperwork and had to wait on a letter of approval from the school choice overlords. Well, on Saturday, our approval letter came and now she’s in! We still aren’t 100% in love with our district but this is the best we can do (unless she gets into the charter school we’re on the waiting list for. #4, so we stand a chance). And we’re okay with that.
My final paycheck from work. After I got word that my leave had been extended through the date of my resignation (which I realize makes no sense, but it’s a very long, complicated story), I had been waiting with bated breath for my final paycheck. We had some bills we wanted to take care of, as well as plan for a wedding we’re attending next month, with that money. So I did a rough calculation and came up with a certain number. Well, when I got paid on Friday, the check was about $1200 larger than I had anticipated. This took care of a number of extra expenses that we knew were going to crop up and we moved a bunch of money into savings. It was a relief to know we have this extra money, particularly as getting my freelancing business up and running is going slower than planned.
I like to think that the good news outweighed the bad. And as an outsider looking in (as I often imagine myself), I can see that it does. In the grand scheme of things, the events that angered me are more nuisances than financial burdens but good grief, do they burn me up. It’s just petty stuff no one should have to deal with. Because it’s really too small to matter.
And that is the end of my financial newsletter. What’s in yours?